Olivier Assayas's film on the aftermath of May 1968 is infantile ultra-leftism
JOE GLENTON explains his need to respond to a world that is unsustainably divided
The names and lives in music of Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves will always be unified, and not only because Gonsalves played tenor saxophone in the Duke's orchestra for more than two decades between 1951 and 1973.
By 1956 Ellington had reached a nadir in his popularity and prestige.
The rise of bebop had provoked a growing neglect of the great jazz tradition of the big bands, and Ellington's genius had become strangely unfashionable.
Then, at the Newport Jazz Festival that year, the Ellington Orchestra played the Duke's Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue.
Gonsalves stood up unexpectedly and uproariously played a 27-chorus solo which set the festival alight and caused such attention and admiration for Ellington and his music that it was frequently claimed that Gonsalves's roaring notes that day were responsible for a huge revival in Ellington's popularity and fortunes for the rest of his life.
Gonsalves became Ellington's inseparable lead saxophone soloist until they both died, within days of each other, in 1974.
Gonsalves was born in Boston in 1920, the son of an immigrant from the Cape Verde islands off Senegal, notoriously one of the driest clusters of islands on Earth.
Yet his saxophone sound was positively riverine, his solos full of great serpentine curves of notes which no other horn player has ever emulated.
As a boy he played the music of his ancestors, learning guitar in the Cape Verde style and singing the Creole folk songs from the islands.
After wartime service he plunged into big band jazz as a tenor saxophonist, first with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie before pledging his horn to Ellington.
Gonsalves cut relatively few small group albums compared with the scores that he made with the full Ellington Orchestra, but two - both from 1960 - are brought together on the CD reissues Ellingtonia.
Ellingtonia Moods and Blues was a session with some of his stellar Ellington Orchestra confreres, including Johnny Hodges on alto, trumpeter and violinist Ray Nance and trombonist Booty Wood.
A springing rhythm section of Jimmy Jones, drummer Oliver Jackson and bassist All Hall, plus a menu of tunes by Hodges, Billy Strayhorn, Gonsalves and the Duke himself give a typical Ellingtonian small group ambience, Gonsalves is utterly in his element, playing beautifully wavering solos in It's Something You Ought To Know, as well as Chocataw.
Hodges, his perfect alto foil for more than two decades, slips into his blues-soaked, melodic self and Nance's vulnerable and searching timbre is very much a part of the same Ellingtonian geography.
Gonsalves, closer to his Newport sound, grooves and digs into his choruses in The Line-up, and Hodges flies, rises and swoops through Way, Way Back before a croaking, muted solo by Wood and Gonsalves's breathy chorus.
Strayhorn wrote the tranquilly tuneful Daydream specifically for Hodges, but this version is all Gonsalves, playing as if pure melody is sheer sonic smoke from his horn.
All members are on well-trodden ground on I'm Beginning To See the Light and Hodges is matchless in his solo before Gonsalves equals him throughout the final opus DA Blues, blowing with such composure and invention that his notes seem to hold the same naturalness as breathing.
The other session, which created the 1960 album Gettin' Together, is a very different jazz preposition with Gonsalves uniting with a group of second-generation bopped led by trumpeter Nat Adderley on cornet, with drummer Jimmy Cobb - fresh from the 1959 epochal Miles Davis Kind of Blue date - Jamaica-born pianist Wynton Kelly and arch-bassist Sam Jones.
Gonsalves squeezes huge emotions inside the four minutes of I Surrender Dear beside the lyrical Kelly, builds up an earthy groove on J And B Blues, and takes a smoking chorus on the down-home opus of Low Gravy next to Adderley's blues-laden cornet.
Every time that the Tube rumbles through Finsbury Park, I think of the brilliant Gonsalves playing at Ellington's last London concert in 1973 at the Rainbow Theatre and imagine the happiest of reunions listening to him live again, with the giant musical will and brain of Ellington at his elbow, urging him on.
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